AP NEWS

Monday Sports in Brief

December 24, 2019 GMT

NFL

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Jones rushed for 154 yards and two second-half touchdowns, Za’Darius Smith had five tackles for loss to lead a stifling performance Green Bay’s defense, and the Packers became NFC North champions by beating the Minnesota Vikings 23-10 on Monday night.

The Packers (12-3) made Matt LaFleur the 10th rookie coach in NFL history to reach 12 victories, winning for the first time in four tries at Minnesota’s deafening U.S. Bank Stadium with a dominant finish after trailing 10-9 at halftime. Green Bay stayed in position for a first-round bye in the playoffs with the top seed and home-field advantage until the Super Bowl still in sight.

The Packers stormed back from three first-half turnovers, including a rare interception by Aaron Rodgers, to seal the Vikings (10-5) into the sixth playoff seed. Kirk Cousins was sacked five times, with a whopping 3 1/2 by Smith, and he threw an interception in the third quarter that set up the first score by Jones. Cousins fell to 0-9 in his career in Monday night games.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks have reunited with Marshawn Lynch.

The bruising, 33-year-old running back known as “Beast Mode” signed a contract with the Seahawks on Monday night, his agent confirmed on Twitter.

Seattle is in desperate need of running backs after Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) both suffered season-ending injuries in Sunday’s 27-13 loss to Arizona. Coach Pete Carroll said earlier Monday on his radio show that Lynch was flying to Seattle to undergo a physical.

Carroll said reports are that Lynch is in good shape.

Lynch has not played in more than a year. His last game was Week 6 of last season with the Oakland Raiders before a core injury ended his season.

MLB

CLEVELAND (AP) — Free agent second baseman Cesar Hernandez has agreed to a one-year, $6.25 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, a person familiar with with negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday.

Hernandez, who spent the past seven seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, must past a physical this week before the deal is announced.

The person who spoke on condition anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. ESPN.com was first to report the agreement.

The Indians were in the market for a second baseman after not picking up veteran Jason Kipnis’ contract option for 2020.

NBA

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jordan Clarkson wasn’t going to be a part of Cleveland’s future. Now he’s in the past.

The Cavaliers agreed Monday night to trade Clarkson to the Utah Jazz for guard Dante Exum and two future second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

Cleveland will get a pick in 2022 and one in 2023, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams have not yet had the required conference call with the NBA to approve the swap.

The deal came together shortly before the Jazz played in Miami and the Cavs hosted Atlanta. Clarkson warmed up on the floor at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse before he was informed of the trade.

—By AP Sports Writer Tom Withers.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Gonzaga is the latest No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll that has seen no stability on the top line.

The Bulldogs moved up a spot to take over for Kansas, which lasted only a week at No. 1 before losing at now-No. 10 Villanova. At the time, that had marked the first time the AP poll has had five different No. 1s before New Year’s Day.

And now it’s six, with the Zags (13-1) earning 54 of 65 first-place votes to outdistance Ohio State in a year with no dominant team.

Gonzaga’s only loss was to No. 11 Michigan in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Nov. 29. The Zags have won five straight since, including wins at No. 21 Washington and No. 24 Arizona as well as a home win against North Carolina.

NEW YORK (AP) — UConn is back in a familiar spot — No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.

The Huskies moved up to the top position in the poll Monday after previous No. 1 Stanford lost at Texas on Sunday. UConn has spent more time at No. 1 than any other team in the history of the sport. This is the 243rd week has held the top ranking.

UConn received 19 first-place votes from the national media panel. Oregon was second with Oregon State, South Carolina and Stanford rounding out the first five teams. The Ducks drew five first-place votes, Oregon State four and South Carolina one.

The Huskies (10-0) are coming off a rout of Oklahoma and don’t play again until Jan. 2.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has reached a settlement with Adidas, the Hall of Fame coach and the global sportswear company said in a joint statement Monday.

Pitino had contended in a lawsuit that Adidas “outrageously conspired” to funnel money to the family of a Louisville recruit without his knowledge and made it appear he was aware of its practices.

Settlement terms were not released but the statement said all issues were resolved.

TENNIS

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the ABS Classic due to a lingering left knee injury.

Andreescu said in a video released Tuesday on social media by tournament organizers that she was disappointed with the decision but that she needed more time to recover from the injury she sustained during the WTA Finals in late October at Shenzhen, China.

She was forced to retire from her second round-robin match against Karolina Pliskova.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Kim Clijsters plans to make her delayed comeback to tennis at the Monterrey Open in March, more than seven years after her second retirement.

Clijsters said on Monday she accepted wild cards into the Mexican hard-court event which begins on March 2, followed by Indian Wells from March 11, then the Charleston clay tournament from April 6.

The former No. 1 and four-time major champion, who already is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, announced her comeback attempt in September. Her plans were delayed in November when she tore a ligament in her right knee.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian Open says prize money for the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of next year will be increased by 13.6% to 71 million Australian dollars ($49.1 million).

Tournament organizers said in a statement Tuesday that the women’s and men’s singles winners will each receive A$4.12 million, or US$2.85 million based on current exchange rates.

Prize money has increased 61.4% at the Australian Open over the last five years, generally in keeping with prize money increases at the other Grand Slam tournaments— the French Open, Wimbledon and the U,S. Open, where this year’s championship at Flushing Meadows paid $57 million in prize money and $3.85 million to the singles winners.

SPORTS TELEVISION

Former NHL forward Jeremy Roenick was suspended indefinitely by NBC Sports on Monday for his inappropriate comments about coworkers.

Roenick made a series of questionable remarks about fellow hockey broadcasters Kathryn Tappen, Patrick Sharp and Anson Carter during a recent appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. An NBC Sports spokesman said the suspension is without pay and the network would have no further comment at this time.

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